The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding $100 million in grants through its Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program to expand infrastructure for renewable fuels sourced from U.S. agricultural products (biodiesel, ethanol, etc.). Locomotive fueling facilities are eligible, according to the Federal Register.
According to the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) for Fiscal Year 2022 (downloadable below), the goal of HBIIP is “to increase the market availability of higher blends biofuels. To be eligible for this program, a project’s sole purpose must be for the installation, and/or retrofitting, and/or otherwise upgrading of fuel dispensers/ pumps, related/attached equipment, UST system components, and other infrastructure required at a location to ensure the environmentally safe availability of fuel containing ethanol blends greater than 10%or fuel containing biodiesel blends greater than 5%.”
Eligible applicants include “owners of transportation fueling and fuel distribution facilities located in the United States and its territories. … Eligible entities would include fueling stations, convenience stores, hypermarket retailer fueling stations, fleet facilities (including automotive, freight, rail and marine), and similar entities with equivalent capital investments, as well as fuel/biodiesel terminal operations, midstream operations, and heating oil distribution facilities or equivalent entities.”
Railway Age asked the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association how such a grant program, which it promoted on Twitter, would apply to members. “Although this grant opportunity is really about the storage of biodiesel (which is something some of our short lines are interested in doing), … short lines are interested in how they may be able to use biodiesel,” the association reported on Sept. 27. Most small roads are not currently testing it, but “some of our port-servicing short lines in the early stages of evaluation. One challenge (that the grant program may help solve) is the ability to obtain biodiesel widely. As you know, many of our short lines are in remote areas, and having affordable access to biodiesel is something that would have to be considered.”
Applications for HBIIP will be accepted through 4:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 21, 2022.
Railway Age Executive Editor Marybeth Luczak contributed to this report.